Diplomats Edge Dutchmen in Season Opener

Diplomats Edge Dutchmen in Season Opener

LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall defeated Lebanon Valley 28-21 in non-conference football action Saturday afternoon at Sponaugle-Williamson Field. The Diplomats improved to 1-0 while the Dutchmen fell to 0-1. 

The Dutchmen lit the board first at 7:15 in the first quarter to take an early 7-0 lead.  On LVC's second series, Brian Murphy hooked up with Tyler George for a 20-yard touchdown to finish off a seven-play, 87-yard drive and the early advantage.  

F&M answered two series later with a nine-play, 66-yard drive that took almost five minutes off the clock and went into the second quarter. The Diplomats took advantage of LVC's lone penalty of the game, a pass interferences call on third-and-two and Scott LaValva rushed in from five yards out six plays later to make it 7-7 at 11:40. 

The Diplomats' defense forced a three-and-out on the Dutchmen's next possession and F&M took over on its own 43.  A steady dose of rushing, with a handful of passes took the Diplomats 57 yards down the field on 11 plays and Matt Magarity dove in from a yard out to put F&M up 14-7 with 3:05 left until the break.  

LVC answered on its next series and made the best of three F&M penalties, with a 79-yard drive that ended with Murphy finding George for an 11 yard score as time expired for a 14-14 halftime score.  

As both teams were returning to the field after the break, a strong storm entered the area, resulting in a rain delay that latest just under two hours.  

When play finally resumed, but teams came up empty on their first possession of the second half and F&M took over on its own 36 with 9:26 left in quarter. On the seventh play of the drive, facing third-and-one, Lamont Jackson hit a hole up the middle and bounced it to the outside; racing 30 yards down the field for the score and a 21-14 F&M lead.  

The Dutchmen answered two possessions later, turning an interception into a quick four-play 18-yard drive. George picked up his third score of the game with a 12-yard catch to make it 21-21 with 56 seconds remaining in the quarter. F&M chewed up seven minutes on its next series, but punted the ball down to the LVC one-yard line and the Dutchmen were unable to get out of the hole and gave the Diplomats the ball back four plays later, which set up F&M's game-winning drive.  

With 7:07 left to play, F&M took over on the LVC 38, and chewed almost five minutes off the clock. The series featured eight run plays, with a 15-yard pitch-and-catch from Magarity to Zackery on 3-and-9 that kept the drive alive. Magarity called his own number on third-and-goal when he took it in from five yards out for the game winner.  

LVC had a chance to answer, possessing the ball with a little over two minutes to play and drove down to the F&M 14, but ran out of time as Murphy's last pass fell short as time expired.  

LaValva paced the F&M rushing attack with 57 yards on 15 touches and a scored. Jackson finished with 56 yards and a touchdown while Magarity scored twice on 12 rushes and finished with 38 yards.  

Magarity went 18-for-24 for 147 passing yards on one pick and Murphy completed 16-of-34 passes for 198 yards and three scores.  

Andrew DeStefano had a team-high 57 yards on four grabs while Zackery picked up 47 yards on nine catches. George led all receivers with 117 yards on seven catches and three scores.  

Ryan Young paced the F&M defense that held LVC to under 300 total yards with nine stops with 2.5 going for a loss. Tre Henderson picked up five solo tackles and two pass break ups while Brian Velasco and Brendan Daly finished with five and four tackles respectively.  

The Diplomats go on the road next week when F&M travels to Muhlenberg for a 1:00 p.m. contest.